To most people, Opera is just a “fat lady” singing very loudly on stage. But what people don’t realize is the true history and influences of Opera. The word Opera means “work” in Italian, which is accurate because Opera uses the skills of solo and choral singing, acting and dancing in a staged environment. Opera was first created around 1600 in Italy and has been a musical influence up until Present Day. Dafne was the earliest composition considered opera. It was written around 1597 by Jacopo Peri. Dafne was used as an attempt to revive Greek and Renaissance Drama. Dafne is unfortunately lost. A later work by Peri, Euripidice, dating from 1600, is the first opera score to have survived to the present day. However, Claudio Monteverdi’s a Favola d’Orfeo, composed in 1607, still holds the honor of being the first Opera continually produced. So, Opera plays a large role in most modern day musical influences and has shaped the world in different views of music and its compositions. Opera is the predecessor of modern musical theater. Prior to Opera, music was performed standing still, with no scenery, no motion, no plot. just the music. Opera took a big step, by combining different elements, like telling a story, and created a new musical genre. So, no. Opera is not just a fat lady singing her guts out. The words she is actually reciting are pieces of a story that lay in the intricate melodies and italian phrases.
-Norton Anthology of Music History.